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Indonesian family threatened over torture claims

Inmate was allegedly beaten during girlfriend's prison visit

<p>Inmate Riko Yeyandra, left, shows wounds left by his alleged beating</p>

Inmate Riko Yeyandra, left, shows wounds left by his alleged beating

  • Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • October 16, 2013
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A prison inmate's family in West Sumatra say they are being pressurized by other convicts and officials to drop accusations of torture against two prison guards, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said on Tuesday.

Riko Yeyandra, 28, jailed for a drug offence, was repeatedly kicked, hit around the head and subjected to electric shocks by guards at a prison in Solok, according to the commission.

The attack occurred during a visit from his girlfriend, the AHRC said.

The guards interrupted the visit and removed Yeyandra to another room where they committed the alleged assault, the rights group said on its website.

The commission did not say what led to the assault, but when Yeyandra asked the guards what he had done wrong, they responded by saying: “If you are not pleased [about this] just report us to the head of the correctional facility.”

He was then allowed to see his girlfriend again who took pictures of his injuries with her mobile phone and uploaded them on Facebook.

A few days later, his family and the Padang Legal Aid Institute (LBH Padang) lodged a complaint with police.

Since then Yeyandra’s family has received a flurry of calls and text messages from other inmates, urging them to drop the complaint and remove the images from the internet.

The inmates say they could be subjected to the same treatment.

Calls to drop the case have also come from the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, the AHRC says.

The family however has refused to withdraw the complaint.

“Riko is an inmate. If he was hit because of his involvement in drug abuse, we wouldn’t protest against it. But the prison guards hit him without reason,” said Rudi Firmansyah, the victim’s cousin.

“It’s not about Riko anymore. It’s about the fate of all the inmates. If we let this case go, prison guards will continue to torture inmates,” he told ucanews.com

LBH Padang says the calls from other inmates were probably encouraged by prison authorities, adding that they have threatened to deny the inmates parole if they refused to do so.

Data from the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) says 100 cases of torture were reported between July 2012 and June this year. Among these cases, 35 were allegedly committed by prison guards.

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